In my attempts to make life more simple, I recently decided that my household notebook was making life more complicated. So, I decided to ditch it. I really hardly used it anymore anyway... I have a calendar on my phone, my routines are memorized, I clean when it's needed, and all my common recipes are on my blog, typed somewhere, or memorized. I just write my to do list on a piece of paper. And, I have made changes to my meal planning to make it easier and less complicated. I don't have time for complicated (most people don't!).
Here are some tips for easy meal planning:
- Look at what you already have and base meals around that.
- Keep a master list of your family's favorite meals (20-25 at least). Update this every few months.
- Come up with 5 meals for the week using your master list. Have one night for leftovers. Have one night to try a new meal.
- Use meal ingredients more than once. For example, if you have roasted chicken one night, the next night use the leftover chicken in a meal. If you make a pot of beans one night for rice and beans, have a taco salad or chili the next night using those beans.
- Keep it simple. Healthy doesn't mean extravagant.
- Make your grocery list based on your meal plan. Only buy what's on the list.
- My master meal list is located on google documents. This eliminates the need to have it written on paper (and need a place to put it). Most of the meals listed here contain ingredients that I keep on hand regularly.
- I write my weekly meal plan on my marker board in my kitchen. This helps Robert too because he likes to see what's coming up (he cooks sometimes!).
- I buy groceries every Wednesday, so my meal week starts on Wednesday (it's just easier that way for me). I go to Newflower Farmer's Market on that day because it's their "double ad day." I don't usually buy much each week because I do my "big shopping trip" once a month. This is when I go to Costco. I am now trying to limit my farm visits to every other month. The once a month shopping trip is where I stock up on my common items (see my Whole Foods Pantry list). These are items that I almost always have on hand.
- I don't include breakfasts on here because I tend to stick with the same things mostly... and I just decide that morning. I've tried to include breakfasts only to NEVER stick with the plan.
How do you plan meals for your family? What are some ways you can simplify planning in your life?